Where Will Union Stand on This?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that five teachers at San Leandro High School in the Bay Area refused to hang a classroom poster designed by the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, defying a district mandate.

The poster includes gay pride symbols and designates the classroom as a “safe space.” The teachers, who were not named in the story, said displaying the poster would violate their religious beliefs.

This story has a lovely confluence of controversial issues: homosexuality, religion, school district mandates, tolerance, diversity, political correctness, classroom displays and academic freedom.

EIA wonders if the San Leandro Teachers Association will defend, as it is wont to do, the right of these teachers to run their classrooms in the way they see fit, in light of a one-size-fits-all mandate from school administrators. If not, would the union stand silently by if the district required teachers to hang posters touting the “Students in Free Enterprise” program?

Probably not.

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The EIA Really Official, Super-Accurate Poll

The Ohio Education Association released a member survey yesterday that purports to show, among other things, that 74 percent of its members agree with the statement “The state legislature is trying to dismantle public education.”

The survey was sent to members last October attached to their monthly union newsletter. About 131,000 went out, and about 4,000 came back.

Since OEA seems unconcerned about self-selection, EIA is running its own Really Official, Super-Accurate Poll. The results will be sent to the Ohio media.

The EIA Really Official, Super-Accurate Poll
Who is the Ohio Education Association trying to kid?
The press
The members
The public
Anyone who has never heard of self-selection

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AP and AFL-CIO Never Heard of Rounding

The Associated Press story on the annual Bureau of Labor Statistics union membership report went out with this headline and lede:

Long-declining union membership levels off at 12.5 percent of work force

“WASHINGTON – Long-declining union membership leveled off last year at 12.5 percent of the work force, the Labor Department said Friday in a report labor leaders called encouraging.”

Later wire stories cut off the end of the headline, leaving “Long-declining union membership levels off.”

But, as EIA reported last Friday, the “leveling off” was only an effect of BLS rounding to the nearest tenth of a percentage point. The union membership rate declined in 2005 from 12.52 to 12.46 percent.

Here’s a better way to understand the continuing decline. The U.S. economy employed 2,335,000 more workers in 2005 than in 2004. Only 213,000 of these new workers — 9.1 percent — became union members.

Examining just the private sector makes the picture starker: Of the 1,924,000 new private sector workers in 2005, only 50,000 — 2.6 percent — joined a union.

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"Dear Leader" Decries Teacher Union Bashing

This just in from the Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang:

“A spokesman for the Central Committee of the Korean Educational and Cultural Workers’ Union issued a statement on Jan. 21 in denunciation of the moves of the south Korean neo-conservative forces to frame up ‘Liberal Teachers Union’ in a bid to implant feelings of separation in the hearts of the nation with mistrust and confrontation, dull the rising generations’ consciousness of national independence and immolate them to outside forces.”

The North Korean angst is over a center-right teachers’ union — called the Liberal Teachers Union — being formed in South Korea as a counter to the left-wing Korea Teachers and Educators Union.

Pyongyang continues: “In south Korea the Grand National Party and other conservative forces are now bringing together those riffraffs who are crazy for worship towards the U.S. to frame up the ‘Liberal Teachers Union’ against the National Teachers Union (Jongyojo) which is conducting progressive and patriotic educational activities for independent reunification among students.”

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Union Membership Rate Drops (Again) in 2005

Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for 2005 showed a slight drop in the percentage of American workers who belong to labor unions. BLS shows the percentage as 12.5, which is the same as it was in 2004, but extending the number of decimal places shows a drop from 12.52 percent in 2004 to 12.46 percent in 2005.

EIA must again point out that the union membership figure is inflated by as much as 1 percentage point, due to the fact that the BLS figures omit all self-employed workers. The Census Bureau estimates there are currently 10.3 million self-employed workers in the United States, virtually all of whom, it must be assumed, do not belong to a union.

America’s unions had 213,000 more members in 2005, but the U.S. economy employed 2,335,000 more workers. The private sector unionization rate fell from 7.9 to 7.8 percent. The public sector unionization rate rose from 36.4 to 36.5 percent.

About 41.9 percent of local government employees — a category which includes teachers, school support workers, police officers and firefighters — belong to a union, up from 41.3 percent in 2004.

Only five states — Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey and New York — have a workforce that is more than 20 percent unionized. Twenty-two states have unionization rates in single digits.

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UFT Plans Protest Against ABC-TV

Representatives of the United Federation of Teachers, New York City’s teachers’ union, voted to circulate a petition and hold a rally outside of the headquarters of ABC-TV to protest reporter John Stossel’s 20/20 special “Stupid in America.”

“ABC needs to hear how unfair and biased those of you in the trenches believe their broadcast to have been,” UFT President Randi Weingarten told the union’s delegate assembly Wednesday night.

The date of the protest has not yet been determined. But all the textbook union activism should keep the natives occupied while other business slides through.

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